Hostage of Paradox
ISBN: 978-1-936332-37-3
ePub: 978-1-936332-33-5
535 pages, $29.95
Trade paper; HIS027070; BIO008000; HIS027000

Special Features
  • In Screenplay Production
  • Colby Award contender
  • A Pulitzer prize entry
  • Finalist 2012 USA BEST BOOK award
  • Foreign Rights:

Hostage of Paradox: A Qualmish Disclosure

John Moore fills this memoir with craft, immediacy, and authenticity. Simply the best Vietnam narrative I have ever read.—Tom Perry, Producer

Few people then or now know about the clandestine war that the CIA ran in Vietnam, using the Green Berets for secret operations throughout Southeast Asia. This was not the Vietnam War of the newsreels, the body counts, rice paddy footage, and men smoking cigarettes on the sandbag bunkers. This was a shadow directive of deep-penetration interdiction, reconnaissance, and assassination missions conducted by a selected few Special Forces teams, usually consisting of only two Americans and a handful of Chinese mercenaries, called Nungs. These specialized units deployed quietly from forward operations bases to prowl through agendas that, for security reasons, were seldom completely understood by the men themselves.

Hostage of Paradox is the first-hand account by one of these elite team leaders.


John grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela. His parents were both from old southern families in Virginia and South Carolina. He spent a great deal of time on weekends sailing and crewing on the big ocean racing yachts. This grew into being invited to crew in the America's Cup a few times, both as tune-up crew and race crew. John attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a BA in Philosophy at a time when the Vietnam draft was in effect. He enlisted in the Army Special Forces, the Green Beret. After two years of intense training he was sent to Vietnam to be involved in a highly secret operation financed and run by the CIA.

“My situation was greatly complicated by the fact that our base camp was overrun my first night in it. At the beginning of the fire fight, we had about 125 Americans in the compound and some 300 Chinese mercenaries called Nungs. At daybreak I was one of some 20 Americans left alive and had been wounded multiple times during the night, and there were about 112 Chinese alive.” This was the greatest single-engagement loss of Special Forces troops suffered by the USA in the whole war. John headed numerous subsequent operations deep into Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam before being released from duty with yet another painful wound in his hip. He received a Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Hearts, and 4 or 5 other service and conduct medals. These experiences have been masterfully described in John’s Vietnam memoir called “Hostage of Paradox”, published by Bettie Youngs Books.

Recovering from his wounds, John spent some time in England where his parents were living at the time. Looking for something interesting to do he decided to participate in the restoration of the Hadrian’s Wall built by the ancient Romans in northern Scotland. During an ice storm he took shelter in a local monastery. That place and the interesting characters in it proved to be such a retreat from his bad memories that he stayed there for several months. From there he went to Canada and took a job as a rock drill operator in a large industrial gold mine near Timmons, another place with a rich crop of oddballs and interesting men. John Rixey Moore’s memoir of the monastery and the mine, “Company of Stone” is also published by Bettie Youngs Books and it serves as a sequel to the Vietnam book.

John has been a member of the U.S.A. Bobsled team and has competed in some 12 or 13 World Cup competitions. He is an accomplished pilot. (I have had the pleasure to fly with him cross country several times on his private airplane). He is also a very knowledgeable antique arms collector. John’s career as an actor has been quite intense and prolific involving him in hundreds of commercials as well as leading roles for TV series such as "One Life to Live" in NYC and “Falcon Crest” here in Hollywood. His intimate relationship with acting and writing has led in turn to on-site filming in the crop circles of England as well as personal interviews with a microbiologist whose work at Area 51 included taking live tissue samples from a living captive ET.


Deserving of a place in the upper ranks of Vietnam War memoirs.—Kirkus Review

A reader can become drunk with the words in this book as they leave the page and enter the mind. It is so densely written and packed with action that it demands multiple readings. I've read many of the pages several times to savor the writing and the suspense. Moore's prose envelopes the reader and takes him out of his world into a scary one, "a sclerotic black festival of brutal unknowns," where dead men rise up out of 'feculent excremental sludge.' I am going to buy multiple copies of this book and give them to friends. Read this book, you'll be, as John Moore puts it, 'transfixed, like kittens in a box. —David Willson, Book Review, The VVA Veteran

Some men lead an exciting, stimulating life of high adventure. John Rixey Moore has somehow packed at least three of these lives into one. —Andy Shrader, writer of the Antarctic feature film script, Ice Men

An epic tale.—Brian Williams, producer

John Moore takes you on a ride that grabs you and does not let you go.—David Hadley, actor, China Beach

A compelling story told with extraordinary insight, disconcerting reality, and engaging humor. A most amazing saga!—Ron Russell, author, Don Carina: World War II Heroine

John captures his endlessly terrifying journeys through multiple reconnaissance missions in Vietnam by putting you into his own intimate experience, with sensory descriptions more realistic than virtual reality, perfectly seasoned with deep thoughtfulness, a disarming wit, and an unexpected charm. —Roy Samuelson, actor

Moore plunges us deep into the jungles of Southeast Asia as we walk, crawl, and sweat with him on excruciatingly dangerous missions, just hoping to get back alive! The mind-expanding discourse about life on the edge, the emotional tension it engenders, and the places it takes you, shows what a compelling writer he is. —Clif Potts, actor, Once an Eagle; Silent Running; and, Wild Hearts